'Go ahead. I dare you.'

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 29, 2010

In August we heard that Father Larry McNally, of Ascension parish in Oak Park, Illinois, had apologized to the women of his parish for the nasty teachings of the Catholic Church. In September we learn that he’s taken another step. Father Larry has added his name to a petition signed by his parishioners, expressing solidarity with women who wish to be ordained as priests. But it wouldn’t have been his style simply to add his name to the list of signatories:

McNally said he put his name on the petition "in big red print" and felt compelled to deliver it in person to the cardinal at his Gold Coast mansion on Sept. 7, just before George was to embark on a trip to Rome.

When he arrived at the cardinal’s residence, Father Larry wasn’t actually wearing a bright orange sweatshirt with “Look at ME!” printed in 4” letters on both front and back. That wasn’t necessary. He had made his point. The Sun-Times (which, one suspects, got this story from Father McNally, not from Cardinal George) explains:

It was largely a symbolic move, since the cardinal has no power to allow women into the priesthood.

True. The cardinal does not have the authority to ordain women. Neither does the Pope. It can’t be done.

But that’s not what makes Father Larry’s visit to the cardinal a symbolic move, really. The “symbolism” here—the message being delivered to the cardinal—is the same as the message sent by a 3-year-old who stamps his foot and glowers at his mother after refusing to pick up his toys. “I’m being naughty. What are you going to do about it?” 

Father Larry reports that the cardinal was cordial.  

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  • Posted by: GraciesMom5112 - Sep. 30, 2010 10:56 PM ET USA

    It’s so sad that so many priests were infected with this “don’t offend anyone and just accept everything” kind of thinking. It confuses people when the pastor is one of the dissidents rather than the voice of reason. We’d better get back to praying for them all – priests, bishops and all who serve our Church

  • Posted by: GraciesMom5112 - Sep. 30, 2010 10:55 PM ET USA

    I’m with ‘ya, Hal. . . sometimes it seems our Cardinal IS too permissive. But then, what can he do? Consider for a moment that a majority of our priests in ArchChicago are the result of poor training in seminary. The exceptions seem to be those ordained 40+ yeasr ago and those ordained in the last 10 years. So, if the Cardinal censured all of those who are misbehaving and leading their flocks astray with nonsense, he’d be left with only newly ordained and retired priests!

  • Posted by: Hal - Sep. 30, 2010 10:15 AM ET USA

    Yeah, all that may be true, but Cardinal George has brought a lot of this on himself by his public support of Father Pfleger, for example. He can't have it all ways.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 29, 2010 4:12 PM ET USA

    It is good to see humility in a priest. And good to see a priest obedient and respectful to the teachings of his Church. And better for that priest not to act as a fatuous ham actor. And as a pastor not to create just another cute progressive neo-Protestant parish. Too bad that priest is not Fr. Larry McNally, and the parish not Ascension in Oak Park, Illinois. It's a shame when apostasy trumps virtue.